Getting to Know You: Max Clark, Fashion Editor

Renowned stylist and fashion editor Max Clark was born in London in the United Kingdom. Early on in his life, he became fascinated by style.

But it was not ephemeral fashion trends that piqued his interest, rather the culture surrounding specific movements. In the past, he has specifically cited the intersection of style with youth culture, clothing, and music as the inspiration for his career.

Max graduated with a degree from the London College of Fashion in 2007. Before becoming a well-known and highly-regarded senior fashion editor, Max Clark started his career as a fashion and market editor of Arena Homme+ magazine, where, to this day, he occasionally submits pieces under the title Contributing Fashion Editor, and periodically styles magazine covers and editorials, as well. In 2014, he joined ID magazine as a fashion editor.

Along with the many high-end clients he came into contact with through his magazine work, Max has collaborated with several of the biggest names in modern photography: Tim Walker, Harley Weir, and Juergen Teller, just to name a few. Fashion editor Max Clark has also styled campaigns for entertainment and media personalities such as Willow Smith, Lil Simz, Stormzy, and Marcus Rashford.  

After leaving ID magazine, fashion editor Max Clark began styling independently for many of the clients he had met at the start of his career; people with whom he had developed a solid working relationship and who admired his sense of style and his professionalism. He currently spends his working days as a private stylist, traveling the world to consult with those who retain his services.

During his free time, fashion editor Max Clark tours the world for his own happiness and fulfillment, with some of his favorite destinations being India and South America. When Max isn’t globetrotting for business or pleasure, he resides in London with his miniature poodle. They both enjoy walking along the Thames River, contemplating natural beauty, and making memories.

What do you currently do at your company?

After over 10 years in house at Arena HOMME+ and i-D I am now working independently, as a stylist for an exclusive list of clients. I’m a private fashion stylist traveling the world.  

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Many people begin working with fashion magazines to learn the craft. That’s what I did, as well. Working as a fashion editor allows you to connect with people all around the world and allows you to start building your profile and network. Once you begin learning about the craft, you build your brand, create a portfolio, and network with those who you’ll be working with afterward. For my part, I did this by working with such clients as Burberry, Nike, and Adidas through my first few jobs. I gained that experience, got my name out there, and began to fine tune my profile. It’s like graduating—it’s a progression. It took me a few years of learning and working with brands before I gained the knowledge necessary to start my own business.

What defines your way of doing business?

In this industry, business predominantly revolves around teamwork and developing a team that efficiently develops quality style projects. When you begin building your team and your network, you have to experiment with photographers, hair and makeup professionals. As you gain experience, you begin to see who you work well with, and who is suitable to help with your business. As you grow and learn, you begin to experiment less, and you know the people you collaborate with effectively and work with well. Working as a stylist is a collaborative enterprise. You create as part of a team assembled for the project’s success, the brand’s success, and the success of everyone involved.

What keys to being productive can you share?

I am a creative person, however I must plan before starting any project. I find that I work best if all of my ideas are down on paper before I move forward. I can’t go into anything with a feeling of being unprepared—that’s just not how I operate—so, having those lists and spreadsheets ensures that I’m organized and ready for the next steps.  

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

What’s important to me is bringing together close collaborators to create a cohesive team. In the beginning of my career, I spent a lot of time trying to find those with whom I could work well. As I gained more and more close connections with industry professionals who seemed to understand me and ‘gel’ with me, the projects we took on became better and more successful.

Ideally, within a team of people on a given project, each of us knows precisely what our role is in trying to create and produce a quality end product. After all, that is the goal. It’s great to have a kinship and camaraderie with the people you collaborate with daily. If you all have the same mindset, the work comes naturally. The success of the project is the goal, and the team is what makes it happen.

How do you measure success?

It’s about enjoying what you are doing day-to-day. Waking up, being excited about getting to work, and enjoying what you do for a living—that is success.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

Early in my career, I had firm opinions and shared how I thought things should look, something I still do today. As time passed, with the benefit of more experience, I realized that, although my opinion matters, what ultimately matters is how my opinion fits in with the brand’s ideas. As a stylist, you are constantly learning and growing.  

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

First and foremost, you must master your craft and always create everything with quality in mind. Choose a medium that works for you and that you enjoy. You don’t want to produce something that you won’t be proud of in a few months. You need to trust your instincts, but be selective about who you work with and what you do. Make sure you give yourself a platform for people to view your work. Listen and take in everything those who precede you in the industry share with you, as they are your best sources of information. Finally, try to enjoy what you are doing, fashion is fun.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

After a long week, I enjoy spending quiet time with no distractions. London is still my preferred city globally. I like to take long walks and find peaceful areas, such as along the Thames with my fiancée andog.

How would your colleagues describe you?

I hope that my colleagues see that I am passionate about what I do and take pride in what we create together. I think they would also say that I have firm opinions and ideas, but I’m open to listening to others and collaborating with others.  

How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?

I feel I have a pretty good grasp on work-life balance because I enjoy what I do every day and I enjoy the people I work with. I look forward to every single day. The other thing to remember is that with my job, every week is different. It changes seasonally, and as they say, variety is the spice of life. If I could impart one piece of advice to sum up the work/life balancing effort, it would be to not take yourself too seriously. My colleagues and I work in the fashion industry and after all it is ‘just clothes.’  

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

“Be nice to people on the way up because you never know whom you might meet on the way down.”